Leave.EU, the pro-Brexit political campaign group, has today (01.10.20) apologised to Naz Shah (the MP for Bradford West and Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion) over a Tweet and Facebook Post published in December last year. Leave.EU has also agreed to pay Ms Shah a substantial sum in libel damages, as well as her legal costs.
The libellous tweet and Facebook posts suggested, utterly falsely, that Ms Shah was an “apologist” for “grooming gangs”.
For a number of months Leave.EU failed properly to engage with Ms Shah’s complaint, arguing – absurdly – that the statements they made about her were nothing more than humorous satire. Ms Shah was left with no alternative but to commence High Court proceedings for libel.
As Leave.EU has now accepted, their grotesque publications were both ill-judged and utterly untrue. In fact, not only does Ms Shah utterly condemn the activities of grooming gangs and all forms of abuse and exploitation, she plays an active role in campaigning against those activities (including supporting the work of the group “Together Against Grooming”). Ms Shah is a vocal advocate for vulnerable individuals, including victims of sexual abuse.
Ms Shah commented: “I am pleased that Leave.EU has apologised for what it accepts were completely unfounded allegations, which for months it tried to pass off as a joke As today’s apology notes, I am a vociferous campaigner for victims of grooming. I am pleased that this distressing matter has now been brought to a successful conclusion and that the record has been set straight, and thank my legal team for their support in this matter. I will now focus on continuing to support women and children who are victims of abuse.”
Carter-Ruck partner Adam Tudor and senior associate Helena Shipman represented Naz Shah MP.